From the bush to the big city with Dave Graham
Fresh from his EkkaNITES performance, Queensland golden boy Dave Graham joins Your shout to talk about his journey from outback kid to Aussie entertainer.
Dave Graham has worn many hats – entertainer, farmer and animal behaviourist to name a few. But he’s probably best known for his controversial appearance on Big Brother Australia 2006 and Dancing with the Stars in 2007.
Listen to his full story below.
Before he became a national celebrity, Dave was a farmer on his parent’s 40,000 hectare farm in western Queensland. As the youngest of 11 children, he was charged with training the property’s working dogs, developing a unique skill that continues to serve him well to this day.
“On a big station like ours, my job was always to manage the dogs and so it gave me a really unique understanding from a young age about how to manage dogs through kindness,” Dave said.
“It was because of this that I was picked up and became a presenter at the World Dog Games back in 2009 and that just projected me to an alternate career and I really try and show that no dog is broken.”
It wasn’t until his late teens that Dave discovered the limelight when he was scouted by an international modelling agency and decided to give it a go. Despite his parent’s disapproval, Dave said he doesn’t regret his choice to pursue modelling.
“It was probably the first time I thought that I could make my own decision and I’m glad I did it because it really exposed me to a world that I had no concept of,” Dave said.
“It changed a lot of my belief systems and really changed my whole outlook on the world.”
“I’m so appreciative of it but my parents were very afraid of what could happen to me and very ashamed of the choice I’d made.”
In 2006, a violent attack spurred Dave to sign up for reality television show Big Brother. He hoped by getting into Australian lounge rooms, he could change Australia’s attitude towards the LGBTIQ community.
“I thought that if people like me more because I’m gay maybe they should realise that people should be treated equally,” Dave said.
“And if they like me a lot less, then they should challenge themselves because I’m just a person and how is me living my life going to affect them in any way, shape or form?”
Dave is now a professional emcee, father of three and full-time animal behaviourist specialising in training performance dogs.